Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure

Hidden gems: the wines of Bergerac

If the wines of Bergerac aren’t well known internationally, it’s not because they aren’t any good – it’s because Bordeaux’s wine merchants blocked their entry to global markets.

I’m not making this up.

In the 13th and 14th centuries, the good people of Bordeaux decreed that no wines from south-west France could be exported until all the wines of Bordeaux had been bought.

Protectionism at its best. Bergerac wines are often very similar in terms of quality, taste, varieties and winemaking methods to those of their neighbours in Bordeaux.

Even TV wine critic Jancis Robinson says most people would be hard pushed to tell the difference.

We’re studying the wines of Bergerac and the Dordogne this week as part of my French Wine Scholar course. My holiday in south-west France has meant I could put in a little extra homework too.

Hopefully, then, I’ll do well in class on Monday.

As part of the course, we’re studying various appellation d’origine contrôlée wines from the area. These include the Bergerac appellation (red and rosé), Bergerac Sec (dry white), Côtes de Bergerac (red and sweet whites), Rosette (sweet and dessert wines), and Saussignac and Monbazillac (both dessert wines).

While the others in the class are working out which is which, I’m home and dry. These names and places are very familiar to me.

The only thing I can’t figure out is why the Pécharmant appellation barely gets a look in, despite producing what most locals consider to be among the best wines of the region. The Château de Tiregand, Château de Corbiac and Domaine de l’Ancienne Cure (pictured) produce my favourite examples of this powerful red.

“We’re studying the wines of Bergerac this week. My holiday in south-west France has meant I could put in a little extra homework”

Of course, no trip to Bergerac would be complete without stocking up on wines to bring back. We stopped at a couple of vineyards for tastings and dropped in at a couple of wine shops for further recommendations.

We also brought back plenty of wine en vrac to see us through midweek summer evenings.

This time we weren’t constrained by having to fit our purchases into the boot of my sports car. We were travelling in a campervan.

That’s how we managed to bring back 150 litres of wine – or the equivalent of 200 bottles. As we explained at Customs, it’s all for our own personal consumption.

No wonder I have a head start in this week’s wine class.

This entry was published on Saturday, 3 June 2017 at 08:16. It’s filed under Food and wine and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

19 thoughts on “Hidden gems: the wines of Bergerac

  1. LOVE our local wines. Have you had Chateau des Verdots, a superb selection and Tour des Gendres are one of my favourites.

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  2. 200 bottles…..are you sure… you got enough!??

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  3. Methinks we should send ‘Pirate Jenny’ to explore Tours de Gendres…… the chateau is in Ribagnac….so not far from Montdoyen! ..I am sure she will accept the mission….

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  4. What an excellent idea! Am sure she could grit her teeth…

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  5. And the custom officers believed you!?

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  6. Have you heard about this French doctor who prescribes wine to treat disease? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwmgGoOv6-o

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  7. yes indeed not bad at all those wines, I am direct with Christian Roche of Domaine de l’Ancienne Curé wonderful wines here in France. It’s also a problem with SOPEXA the French wine food export org not been able to do much about it in terms of letting the public abroad know about them. enjoy it

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  8. Oh that sounds like fun. My lovely friends are in Segalas, about 40 mins from Bergerac, and I love it there. Enjoy your course. Hugs x

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